Vermiculite for Gardening
Vermiculite is an odorless, fireproof mineral substance. Along with another naturally occurring substance, perlite, it’s often added to potting soil. Vermiculite provides many benefits. These include:
- Improves aeration: It loosens the soil so roots can more easily reach down and grow through the soil.
- Enhances drainage: Vermiculite soaks up water like a sponge. It holds that water until the soil starts to dry out then releases it. This is good for moisture loving plants but not so good for plants that like dryer soil.
- Adds permanent soil conditioner: Unlike compost, which eventually breaks down into the soil, vermiculite doesn’t break down. Compost does add vital nutrients, but if you need to permanently improve drainage, vermiculite is a great solution.
- Slightly raises pH: Vermiculite is pH neutral, around 7.0 or so, but because of some compounds found within it, it can slightly raise pH, a plus for acidic soils.
- Makes other minerals available: Vermiculite naturally reacts with soil compounds and makes available other nutrients such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.